I was watering my plant this morning. It hadn’t been watered in a while. I was excited to take care of it so I got a glass of water and really poured it on. It couldn’t absorb it fast enough and quickly became “flooded.”
I noticed however, that if I would pour in just a little bit, wait, and then pour some more, it could easily take in the whole glass of water.
I thought of relationship researcher John Gottman’s use of the word “flooded” - “Too much input. I’m getting overwhelmed. I’m going down. May day! May day! Please, no more- at least for now.”
It is especially easy to feel flooded in an intimate relationships where this other person’s approval is more important to you than anyone else.
Where does this lead us? Yes, you want to provide helpful input, but no, you don’t want to flood your plant, or your loved one.
So when you have a large volume of feelings and/or input to share with a loved one, just give a little bit at a time, slowly, layer by layer, in a calm, back and forth conversation, where each of you is hearing and validating each other’s perspective.
The Bible points out that “perfect love casts out all fear.” So it is with input. As a calm, mutually respectful conversation unfolds, so does your input gently reach the roots of the person you are trying to guide - the person who needs to feel your love who’s love you also need, so that rather than flooding him, you are nourishing him so that he or she can better come through for you.
Much more on this at The Way to a Man’s Heart / The Way to a Woman’s Heart. We hope you can join us. Click here for dates or to register.
John and Narelle Canaan facilitate the “Path of Peace” seminars and workshops - a faith-based resource for excellence in relationships and life mastery. Register for the next free seminar